October 31st, 2009
04:28 PM ET
4 years ago

Republican Dede Scozzafava drops out of NY-23 race

Dede Scozzafava was under intense pressure from conservatives for being too 'liberal'.
Dede Scozzafava was under intense pressure from conservatives for being too 'liberal'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of New York's 23rd District special election Saturday, citing a slip in the polls as a factor contributing to her decision.

"In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be," Scozzafava said in a statement released by her campaign.

"The reality that I've come to accept is that in today's political arena, you must be able to back up your message with money, and as I've been outspent on both sides, I've been unable to effectively address many of the charges that have been made about my record."

Scozzafava won the nomination in a vote taken by the 11 GOP county chairman in the district, rather than through a traditional primary election. The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.

Scozzafava, whose name will remain on the November 3 ballot, said "victory is unlikely."

"I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so," she said.

Later: Scozzafava endorses Owens

The seat opened up earlier this year after nine-term Republican Rep. John McHugh stepped down after being confirmed as Secretary of the Army. The largely rural district spans 11 counties in northern New York.

Republicans have represented this area of the state since 1872.  McHugh never won less than 60 percent of the vote in his nine election victories, but Barack Obama did edge out John McCain in the district in last year's presidential election.

Scozzafava won the nomination in a vote taken by the 11 GOP county chairman in the district, rather than through a traditional primary election. The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, who was also backed by the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.

The move sparked a revolt among many conservatives, who were angry with what they call her liberal views on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Hoffman's campaign was quick to respond Saturday, claiming he represents a change from normal Washington politics.

"This morning's events prove what we have said for the last week; this campaign is a horse race between me and Nancy Pelosi's handpicked candidate, Bill Owens," Hoffman said in a statement.

"It's time for us to send a message to Washington - we're sick and tired of big-spending, high-taxing, career politicians and by voting for me on Tuesday you will send that message loud and clear," he said.


Filed under: NY-23 • Popular Posts
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Ralph

    Since when is someone a "fundamentalist", "bigot" or "nutjob" for standing for values most Americans approve? Here's a newsflash. Most Americans are Pro-Life. Most Americans to include President Obama disapprove of gay marriage. Most Americans don't care for higher taxes and more spending by a federal government that is out of control. Here's more information for those on the "Left" who are uninformed. The plurality of Americans (42%) consider themselves Conservative while only 21% identify themselves as liberal/progressive. The U.S. is a center-right country. We don't want the politically correct version of socialism that the Euro-trash embrace. Most Americans believe in God, guns, and country. It is about time we have elected officials who share those same values. Nancy Pelosi and her crowd represent a tiny minority. Why should they be allowed to cram their views down our throats? It is time for a Revolution in this country as we aside those who don't represent the views of real Americans. The Revolution begins with one step and the election of Hoffman in New York.

    October 31, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. ForSerious

    Politics is about compromise and as long as GOP candidates must toe the exact partly line they are not a polical party, but a dictatorship in waiting.

    October 31, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Mark S.

    This is great! If Hoffman wins, well another Republican won in a predominately Republican district, no big deal to the Democrats and it will embolden the wingnuts to keep attacking moderate Republicans and drive the party farther and farther to the wingnut right from which they cannot govern. However, if Owens wins, then it will be a resounding rebuke against the loud wingnut right and their tiny tiny cocktail umbrella, which might shut them up long enough for them to think about where their party is going. Gee, I almost hope Hoffman wins.......

    October 31, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. bmw

    So the rabid rightwing of the Republican party has forced aside a moderate Republican who more closely represented her district. Limbaugh and his lemmings are overjoyed, but in effect they are further limiting the Republican base to only those who share their narrow views. The Republican party continues its rightward march out of step with the majority of America.

    October 31, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Bill Hanover

    Thanks Goodness This Has Happened!

    Now, maybe a conservative voice will be heard among all the wishy-washies out there.

    I was hoping to see Hoffman trounce her and send a loud and clear message to republicans that they must be more conservative to help turn things around.

    I can't call myself a republican when they vote and spend the way they do! I can only call myself a "conservative independent," which is a lot of that "independents" group politicians are gunning for.

    It's no accident that the "conservative right" are called the "right!" Far too many liberals embrace behaviors that can only be called wrong.

    October 31, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Larry

    I sure hope that the New Yorkers are smarter than the conservatives of their party give them credit for

    Any voter that cares about the future of this country, should make a stand here and now

    Show the far right that you believe that all individuals have equal rights ... not just the individuals that agree with them

    STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS, and the rights of all Americans ... Vote Owens

    October 31, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Steve

    Hoffman's campaign was quick to respond Saturday, claiming he represents a change from normal Washington politics.

    "It's time for us to send a message to Washington – we're sick and tired of big-spending, high-taxing, career politicians and by voting for me on Tuesday you will send that message loud and clear," he said.

    ------------–
    Oh brother. I've heard these lines in every single political campaign I've ever witnessed. People – no matter who wins in this race, once the winner takes office, he will be a career politician. If you think Hoffman is going to change NY and Washington for the average American because he is an "average American", you're an idiot.

    October 31, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. Chris M.

    Notice no mention of the Conservative Party candidate... the candidate that is currently winning the election.

    October 31, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Ryan

    Hopefully this, and the Republican backing of Hoffman, is a sign that the GOP is moving back towards small government, where they should have been all along, as the party of Lincoln and Reagan, not Bush and McCain.

    October 31, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Tecumseh

    Look at all the partisan hacks commenting on here, very few of which live in this district. The people of this area made a statement that they will not be dominated by political leaders. Why vote for a candidate when they will simply do what their leader from Northern California or Ohio tells them to do. Both parties are beyond corrupt and send out career politicians to vote on real workers' lives. Hoffman is a normal guy, sick of nanny government. Scozzafava endorsed the stimulus, as it was written. She lacks ingenuity and conviction. I hope this is the beginning of a trend and these two pathetic parties come to an end.

    October 31, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. John

    I'm just loving the GOP and Conservatives destroying each other.

    October 31, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. b

    As a resident of this district, I now feel I know who I will vote for......Bill Owens, Hoffman is so far right he denies having a left hand. When Palin, Armey, et al. supported Hoffman he had lost my vote.

    October 31, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. Republicans are the American Taliban

    She is not extreme enough for the Taliban...and she is a woman. The Republicans think women should stay at home and clean....

    October 31, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Shelton in VA

    "It is very sad that moderates no longer have a voice in the part of NO! The GOP keeps digging their grave deeper one election after another. I'm sure the Democratic party will welcome your views, Ms. Scozzafava."

    The Democrats already have a candidate in that race. Don't the people in that district deserve options? I heard someone say on the news that that is a conservative region. In all fairness, they deserve a representative that reflects their views...

    October 31, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Confused

    I didn't see in the article one mention of Sarah Palin, yet several posts are crediting her for this "coup". I am starting to think that these are the people that are looking for a mesiah, not the Obamatrons.

    October 31, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. Ethan

    These Rightist Palinist goons don't quite grasp the concept of electoral politics. But it sure is fun watching them destroy themselves instead of the country. Being an extremist party isn't going to help you in national politics, and forcing extremism into the GOP everywhere in the country is a bad move as well. They may win this seat (it was GOP since the 19th century) but it obviously shows that there is a Civil War in the GOP. Keep following that "Pro-Freedom" agenda there Teabaggers! Good luck with alllll that!

    October 31, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. John of NY23

    A point of clarity. Hoffman may be a conservative but certainly not wacko like the pom pom girl Palin or the lunatic Rush. He is kind of boring actually. He is a conservative and attracted the flies like cow dung. I will vote for Hoffman because we need his financial, conservative mind to represent us. I am Libertarian and detest his view to invoke the Govt right to make personnel choices for me but right now the nations financial situation is very grave. This is not Obama's fault he inherited all of this crap but we need good people that have a clue about finance. Hoffman does that.

    October 31, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Neutralizer

    CNN is truly pathetic! Their moderator did not post my comment coz I've mentioned close relationship of Dede with ACORN (she and Lewis – head of ACORN are close friends) and SEIU, also Dede's membership with WORKER'S SOCIALIST PARTY. Dede's husband is a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER in NY.

    Dede is more of a Democrat than Owen – fact!

    October 31, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Dick

    Finally, a message from the Republican Party that I can believe in. Don't support the Republican candidate!

    October 31, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. An Independent

    I absolutely agree with ForSerious: "as long as GOP candidates must toe the exact partly line they are not a polical party, but a dictatorship in waiting."

    If these extremists ever get enough control to force their will upon us all, this country will no longer be the land of the free and the home of the brave because the extremists will force everyone to do as they say and will destroy anyone that dares question them.

    I'm a fiscal conservative and don't agree with many of the things the Democrats do, but at this point in time the extreme right is a far bigger threat to our country, so I hope the Democrat wins this race.

    October 31, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. Parisrose

    We who live here areally aren't all that thrilled with all this national attention. Dede has ably and knowledgeably served her constituents here for many years and now we've lost that. As a Democrat i was really torn – Scozzafava or Owens, and her knowledge of Fort Drum and the impact on our area, the St Lawrence Seaway, it's commercial benefits and the major natural resource, the real jobs situation here with Alcoa, GM, the local health care systems made her be the one i wanted speaking for us in WAshington – NEITHER of the others has that background. And when asked, Hoffman dismissed questions about our "local issues". This is to be OUR representative. NO Thanks.

    Let me quote a line from our local paper today – "please come to our area, eat at our restaurants, stay in our hotels, but stay out of our politics."

    October 31, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    bmw says:

    "So the rabid rightwing of the Republican party has forced aside a moderate Republican who more closely represented her district. Limbaugh and his lemmings are overjoyed, but in effect they are further limiting the Republican base to only those who share their narrow views. "
    ______________________________

    This coming from a democrat? The same group that froths at the mouth whenever a blue dog does something they don't like?

    Methinks thou doth protest too much.

    October 31, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. This is great news for independent conservatives

    The Republican party must maintain its conservative values. We see in Richmond, CA what happens when liberals are left in charge of things.

    It's time to let the conservative people reunite this country and put it back on the right track.

    October 31, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. trueconservative

    Hoffman's son had alcohol problems as young as age 16. That sounds like the conservative values we should support. Let's hear it for Doug Hoffman coming into every american's bedroom and telling them how to live their private lives. That's not my idea of smaller government. He is in this race for his personal ego and little else

    October 31, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Liberals are the American Taliban

    It's funny that people claim the Republicans have a low view of women. Look what happen when the Republicans introduced Sarah Palin to America. The "tolerant" liberals tore her down.

    Liberals can't stand opposing view points. Liberals are the greatest hypocrits around.

    October 31, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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